Posted by: frburke23 | October 31, 2014

Thought for Friday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 14:1-6

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine
at the home of one of the leading Pharisees,
and the people there were observing him carefully.
In front of him there was a man suffering from dropsy.
Jesus spoke to the scholars of the law and Pharisees in reply, asking,
“Is it lawful to cure on the sabbath or not?”
But they kept silent; so he took the man and,
after he had healed him, dismissed him.
Then he said to them
“Who among you, if your son or ox falls into a cistern,
would not immediately pull him out on the sabbath day?”
But they were unable to answer his question.

========================================

As we read this story today of Jesus curing the man with dropsy at a dinner party with the Pharisees, it seems odd to us that anyone would be upset that He would heal the man.  However, some of the Pharisees had gone too far in their interpretation of the law to say that NOTHING should be done on the Sabbath, not even healing.

Jesus makes their position seem ridiculous.  Any loving father would save or heal his son or even his ox if it were in trouble – whether it was the Sabbath or not.

What can we learn from this story?  First of all, Jesus always wants to love us and heal us, no matter what the circumstance.  Our God loves us as a loving Father, with a heart of compassion and mercy – always.  Secondly, we can not get lost in the law and lose sight of love and mercy.  We can follow the letter of the law perfectly, but if we have no love, we are missing the whole point.  Jesus came to show us the love of God in so many ways. 

God is not a bunch of rules.  God is not a system of morality.  God revealed Himself to us in the PERSON of Jesus, who loves us and wants to save us.  It is all about RELATIONSHIP!  May we be people of love and mercy, always seeking relationship over rules.

Do I trust that God loves me and wants to heal every part of me?

Do I place an emphasis on relationship with God and others?

Have a blessed weekend,

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | October 28, 2014

Thought for Wednesday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time

Ephesians 6:1-9

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
Honor your father and mother.
This is the first commandment with a promise,
that it may go well with you
and that you may have a long life on earth.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.

Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling,
in sincerity of heart, as to Christ,
not only when being watched, as currying favor,
but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,
willingly serving the Lord and not men,
knowing that each will be requited from the Lord
for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Masters, act in the same way towards them, and stop bullying,
knowing that both they and you have a Master in heaven
and that with him there is no partiality.

___________________________________________________________

There has been much talk about the family recently with the bishops gathering in Rome to talk about the topic.  Today we have some family counseling from St. Paul.  He reminds children, “Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right….  This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth.”  That is a nice promise to all those who honor their parents.

Honoring our parents goes in stages.  When we are young we don’t always appreciate our parents.  We take them and everything they do for granted.  When we go away to college we start to appreciate them more.  Then as we find our vocation and become an adult, we understand the love parents have for children.  And as our parents age, we try to honor and respect them for all that they have done for us.  Sometimes in our culture the elderly are forgotten.

Then St. Paul addresses the parents.  He calls them to train and instruct the children, but do not provoke their anger.  Parents are the first teachers of their children, especially in the faith.  Sometimes parents expect the Church to teach their children everything about God in one hour of religious education every week.  We neglect the responsibility of knowing our own faith and passing it on to our children.   The Church has a responsibility to teach, but it first belongs to the parents.

Finally, parents are not called to be their children’s friends.  I see this mistake often where parents will bend over backwards to be friends with their children and in the meantime they compromise their parenting responsibilities.  I have a friend who tells his children, “My responsibility is to help you get to heaven.  I will do all in my power to do so.  I am not called to be your friend.”  This doesn’t mean that we can’t be our children’s friend when they are older.  That is fine.  But when they are young they need parents who teach them the truth, with love and discipline.

How do I treat my parents?

How do I treat my children?

Am I leading my family to heaven?

Have a blessed day!

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

EFESIOS 6:1-9
Hijos, obedezcan a sus padres en el Señor, porque esto es justo.
Honra a tu padre y a tu madre.
Este es el primer mandamiento con promesa,
para que te vaya bien
y tengas una larga vida en la tierra.
Padres, no provoquen a sus hijos a la ira,
sino críenlos según la disciplina e instrucción del Señor.
Esclavos, obedezcan a sus amos humanos con temor y temblor,
en la sinceridad de corazón, como a Cristo,
no sólo cuando sean vistos, como los que quieren ganarse el favor humano,
sino como esclavos de Cristo, haciendo la voluntad de Dios de corazón,
sirviendo de buena gana al Señor y no a los hombres,
sabiendo que cada uno será retribuido por el Señor
por el bien que haya hecho, sea esclavo o sea libre.
Amos, actúen de la misma manera hacia ellos, y dejen de amenazarlos,
sabiendo que tanto ellos como ustedes tienen un Amo en el cielo
y que con él no hay acepción de personas.

__________________________________________________________
Se ha hablado mucho sobre la familia recientemente con los obispos reunidos en Roma para hablar sobre el tema. Hoy tenemos un poco de asesoramiento familiar de San Pablo. Les recuerda a los niños, “obedezcan a sus padres en el Señor, porque esto es justo…. Este es el primer mandamiento con promesa, para que te vaya bien y tengas una larga vida en la tierra.” Esa es una buena promesa para todos aquellos que honran a sus padres.

Honrar a nuestros padres va en etapas. Cuando somos jóvenes no siempre apreciamos a nuestros padres. A ellos y todo lo que hacen lo damos por hecho. Cuando nos vamos a la universidad comenzamos a apreciarlos más. Luego cuando encontremos nuestra vocación y nos convertimos en adultos, entendemos el amor que los padres tienen por los hijos. Y a medida que nuestros padres envejecen, tratamos de honrarlos y respetarlos por todo lo que han hecho por nosotros. A veces en nuestra cultura los ancianos son olvidados.

Luego San Pablo se dirige a los padres. Él los llama a capacitar e instruir a los niños, pero a no provocar su ira. Los padres son los primeros maestros de sus hijos, especialmente en la fe. A veces los padres esperan que la Iglesia enseñe a sus hijos todo lo relacionado con Dios en una hora de educación religiosa cada semana. Descuidamos la responsabilidad de conocer nuestra propia fe y transmitirla a nuestros hijos. La Iglesia tiene la responsabilidad de enseñar, pero primero le pertenece a los padres.

Por último, los padres no están llamados a ser amigos de sus hijos. A menudo veo este error donde los padres hacen todo lo posible para ser amigos de sus hijos y mientras tanto comprometen sus responsabilidades de crianza. Tengo un amigo que le dice a sus hijos, “Mi responsabilidad es ayudarte llegar al cielo. Haré todo en mi poder para hacerlo. No estoy llamado para ser tu amigo.  “Esto no significa que no podemos ser amigos de nuestros hijos cuando sean mayores. Eso está bien. Pero cuando son jóvenes necesitan padres que les enseñen la verdad, con amor y disciplina.

¿Cómo trato a mis padres?
¿Cómo trato a mis hijos?
¿Estoy guiando a mi familia al cielo?

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | October 28, 2014

Thought for October 28 – Sts. Simon and Jude

Luke 6:12-16

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew,
Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

======================================

Today the Church remembers the apostles Simon and Jude.  In this Gospel passage we see that even Jesus went to pray to unite Himself with the Father before choosing the Twelve.  He spent the entire night in prayer.  When was the last time you spent the night in prayer?  Have you had a really important decision to make recently?  Did you turn to God in prayer?  Jesus teaches us how to approach important situations in our lives – turning to our heavenly Father and entrusting our wills to His.

Simon and Jude represent a group of twelve men who were trained evangelists.  They were regular men like me and you. The Lord did not call the equipped, but He equips the called.  Jesus turned these ordinary twelve men into a group of super-evangelists with the help of His grace.  The Holy Spirit descended upon these men on that first Pentecost and the world would never be the same.

The Lord also calls me and you, despite our weakness and sinfulness.  Never underestimate what you and the Lord can do together.  You and the Lord are an overwhelming majority.  Always remember that!  And He loves you and promises to be with you until the end of time.

Am I living up to my calling?

How can I continue today what these apostles started 2000 years ago?

Do I prepare myself for each day with prayer?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | October 27, 2014

Thought for Monday, 30th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 13:10-17

Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath.
And a woman was there who for eighteen years
had been crippled by a spirit;
she was bent over, completely incapable of standing erect.
When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said,
“Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.”
He laid his hands on her,
and she at once stood up straight and glorified God.
But the leader of the synagogue,
indignant that Jesus had cured on the sabbath,
said to the crowd in reply,
“There are six days when work should be done.
Come on those days to be cured, not on the sabbath day.”
The Lord said to him in reply, “Hypocrites!
Does not each one of you on the sabbath
untie his ox or his ass from the manger
and lead it out for watering?
This daughter of Abraham,
whom Satan has bound for eighteen years now,
ought she not to have been set free on the sabbath day
from this bondage?”
When he said this, all his adversaries were humiliated;
and the whole crowd rejoiced at all the splendid deeds done by him.

==========================

Imagine being present in this scene with Jesus.  You are in the synagogue listening to Him preach.  Next to you is this woman who has not been able to  stand for years because she is extremely crippled.  Jesus walks over to her with love in His eyes.  He lays hands on her and says, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.”  A miracle has occurred before your very eyes!  She stands up for the first time in 18 years and begins to glorify God!  You cannot believe your eyes.  All those who are present are mystified.  What is it about this man that people are cured of severe illnesses?

But not everyone is amazed.  The synagogue leader is outraged that Jesus has just “worked” on the sabbath.  Why would he condemn Jesus when we have just witnessed a miracle?  Was he jealous?  Was he afraid?  Did this threaten his standing in the community?

Jesus calls him a “hypocrite” for not understanding.  Jesus is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  He is the creator of the sabbath.  He came to love, to reconcile, to heal, to draw all people back into one with God.  Who cares on which day of the week this happens?

What can we learn from this story?

  • We have a God who loves us immensely. God wants to love us, to heal us, to draw us into a radical union with Himself.  His heart is moved to compassion when we are suffering.
  • Some people in this world allow pride to get in the way of allowing God to be God. This can be true especially in religious circles.  Do I allow my selfish desires to get in the way of God’s plans?
  • We place religious rules and expectations above the salvation of souls. The most important law in the Church is the salvation of souls.  The healing of this woman is a foreshadowing of her salvation.  In fact, the word healing and salvation come from the same root word.  Do I keep heaven in mind before acting or speaking?

Allow yourself to be amazed as you sit in this synagogue.  Watch the Lord love and heal.  Let Him heal you and be His instrument of healing in this world.  Have a blessed day! 

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | October 26, 2014

Thought for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Matthew 22:34-40

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees,
they gathered together, and one of them,
a scholar of the law, tested him by asking,
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
He said to him,
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

==========================================================

The Scripture readings always tell us something about God and make us realize something about ourselves.  As I pray with all of the readings for this Sunday, this is what I learn about God:

 *  God is love. As St. Thomas Aquinas said, “Love is seeking the good for the other person.”  We hear in 1 Corinthians 13, “Love does not seek its own interests.”  That is God.  God desires what is best for us and He showed it through Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross.
  • God loved us first. “It was not you who chose me but I who chose you.” (John 15:16)  Everything begins with God’s initiative.  He created us out of love and created us to love.  It is no surprise in today’s Gospel that Jesus sums up the commandments with two: love God and love your neighbor.  When we love, when we seek the good of others, when we do not seek our selfish interests, we fulfill God’s commandments.
  • God is compassionate and merciful. He hears our cries as we hear in the first reading today.  You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me,
    I will surely hear their cry.” 
    God is always watching out for us, especially in our humility and poverty.  He seeks out the marginalized, the lonely, the poor, the sick, the destitute, the sorrowing, etc.  Never be afraid to go to Him with your needs.

 

What can we learn about ourselves from these readings?

  • We were created to love and be loved. Everyone in this world is seeking love.  Unfortunately the world and the evil one have twisted the meaning of love.  We look for love in all the wrong places.  Jesus says in John 15:13, my favorite Scripture verse, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.”  If you want to find true meaning and true love, begin by receiving God’s love in prayer and reading of the Scriptures.  As He fills you with His love, your cup overflows and you desire to share His love with others.
  • We make many other things our god in this world. We worship money, power, honor and pleasure.  But today Jesus reminds us to keep our priorities straight.  Love God above all else and love your neighbor as yourself. 
  • God wants us to be His letters to the world. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:2, “You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all.”  In other words, each of us is an apostle, which means “one who is sent”.  There is where we get the word “postal”.  Jesus sends us forth as letters to the world.  People should be able to “read” us like one of Paul’s letters.  They should be able to know that we belong to Jesus by the way we act, just like they could the believers from Macedonia and Achaia in the 2nd reading today (1 Thesalonians 1:5-10).  Many saints will say, the greatest sign that we are growing in our relationship with Jesus is love.  Am I growing in charity?

Some questions to ponder…

Do I allow God to love me?

Do I love God above everything else? 

Do I love myself so that I can love others?

Can people tell that I belong to Jesus when they meet me?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

Mateo 22:34-40
Cuando los fariseos se enteraron que Jesús había hecho callar a los saduceos,
se reunieron, y uno de ellos,
un erudito de la ley, lo puso a prueba preguntando,
“Maestro, ¿cuál mandamiento de la ley es el más grande?”
Él le dijo,
“Amarás al Señor, tu Dios, con todo tu corazón,
con toda tu alma, y con toda tu mente.
Este es el más grande y el primer mandamiento.
El segundo es semejante a éste:
Amarás a tu prójimo como a ti mismo.
Toda la ley y los profetas dependen de estos dos mandamientos”.

____________________________________________________________
Las lecturas de la Escritura siempre nos dicen algo acerca de Dios y nos hace darnos cuenta de algo acerca de nosotros mismos. Mientras hago oración con todas las lecturas de este Domingo, esto es lo que aprendo acerca de Dios:

1) Dios es amor. Como dijo Santo Tomás de Aquino, “Amor es buscar el bien para la otra persona.” Escuchamos en 1 Corintios 13, “El amor no busca su propio interés.” Ese es Dios. Dios desea lo mejor para nosotros y Él lo mostró a través del último sacrificio de Jesús en la cruz.

2) Dios nos amó primero. “No fueron ustedes los que me eligieron a mi, sino yo quien los eligió a ustedes.” (Juan 15:16) Todo comienza con la iniciativa de Dios. Él nos creó por amor y nos creó para amar. No es una sorpresa en el Evangelio de hoy que Jesús resume los mandamientos con dos: ama a Dios y ama a tu prójimo. Cuando amamos, cuando buscamos el bien de los demás, cuando no buscamos nuestros intereses egoístas, cumplimos con los mandamientos de Dios.

3) Dios es compasivo y misericordioso. Él escucha nuestro clamor como escuchamos en la primera lectura de hoy. “No afligirás a ninguna viuda o huérfano. Si alguna vez los afliges y ellos me claman, seguramente oiré su clamor.” Dios siempre está velando por nosotros, especialmente en nuestra humildad y pobreza. Él busca a los marginados, los solitarios, los pobres, los enfermos, los indigentes, los afligidos, etc. Nunca tengas miedo de ir a Él con tus necesidades.

¿Qué podemos aprender acerca de nosotros mismos de estas lecturas?

1) Fuimos creados para amar y ser amados. Todos en este mundo están buscando amor. Desafortunadamente, el mundo y el maligno han torcido el significado del amor. Buscamos el amor en todos los lugares equivocados. Jesús dice en Juan 15:13, mi verso favorito de las Escrituras, “No hay amor más grande que aquel que da la vida por un amigo.” Si quieres encontrar el verdadero significado y el verdadero amor, comienza por recibir el amor de Dios en la oración y la lectura de las Escrituras. Mientras Él te llena de Su amor, tu copa rebosa y tú deseas compartir Su amor con los demás.

2) Hacemos de muchas otras cosas nuestro Dios en este mundo. Adoramos el dinero, poder, honor y placer. Pero hoy Jesús nos recuerda que mantengamos nuestras prioridades en orden. Ama a Dios sobre todas las cosas y ama a tu prójimo como a ti mismo.

3) Dios quiere que seamos Sus cartas para el mundo. San Pablo dice en 2 Corintios 3:2, “Ustedes son nuestra carta, escrita en nuestros corazones, conocida y leída por todos los hombres.” En otras palabras, cada uno de nosotros es un apóstol, lo que significa “uno que es enviado”. De ahí es donde obtenemos la palabra “postal”. Jesús nos envía como cartas al mundo. Las personas deben ser capaces de “leernos” como una de las cartas de Pablo. Ellos deben ser capaces de saber que pertenecemos a Jesús por la forma en que actuamos, al igual que podían los creyentes de Macedonia y Acaya en la segunda lectura de hoy (1 Tesalonicenses 1: 5-10). Muchos santos dirán, la mayor señal de que estamos creciendo en nuestra relación con Jesús es amor. ¿Estoy creciendo en la caridad?

Algunas preguntas para meditar…
¿Permito que Dios me ame?
¿Amo a Dios por encima de todo lo demás?
¿Me amo a mí mismo para que yo pueda amar a los demás?
¿La gente puede decir que pertenezco a Jesús cuando me conocen?

¡Tengan un día bendecido!
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | October 25, 2014

Thought for Saturday, 29th Week of Ordinary Time

LUKE 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans
whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.
He said to them in reply,
“Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way
they were greater sinners than all other Galileans?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!
Or those eighteen people who were killed
when the tower at Siloam fell on them–
do you think they were more guilty
than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem?
By no means!
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable:
“There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard,
and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none,
he said to the gardener,
‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree
but have found none.
So cut it down.
Why should it exhaust the soil?’
He said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave it for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.
If not you can cut it down.’”

===============================

As I was reading this passage from Luke today, I began to think how often we point our fingers at other “sinners” in order to take the focus off of ourselves.  We justify our own behavior by thinking, “At least I’m not as bad as him/her.”

Jesus referred to two different groups (Galileans and people of Siloam) who died.  Many people felt they died because of their great sin.  Everyone pointed fingers at them.  However, Jesus redirects their focus.  “If you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”  In other words, don’t worry about others; worry about yourself.  Change your life, repent and believe in the Gospel.  Don’t wait until it is too late.

Then Jesus shares the parable about the fig tree that bore no fruit for three years.  The owner wanted to cut it down.  However, the gardener begs the owner for one more year to cultivate the tree so that it produces fruit.  If after that year it bears no fruit, the owner can cut it down.

Jesus does not want us to perish in our sin.  He wants us all to live with Him for all eternity.  He is patient with us and wants to cultivate the soil of our soul so that it bears abundant fruit.  But sometimes we are stubborn in our ways.  We remain in our sin and think that we have forever to change our lives.  Don’t wait until it is too late.  Change your life, repent and believe in the Gospel.

Do I point out the sins of others so that I don’t have to look at my own sins?

Is there something that I need to confess?

Where do I need to allow the Lord to work in my heart?

Am I bearing abundant fruit?

God bless,

Fr. Burke

Here is the Spanish translation:

LUCAS 13:1-9
Algunas personas dijeron a Jesús acerca de los Galileos
cuya sangre Pilato había mezclado con la sangre de sus sacrificios.
Él les respondió,
“¿Piensan que porque estos Galileos sufrieron de esta manera
Eran más pecadores que todos los Galileos?
¡De ninguna manera!
¡Pero yo les digo, si ustedes no se arrepienten,
todos perecerán como ellos lo hicieron!
O aquellos dieciocho que murieron
cuando la torre de Siloé cayó sobre ellos-
¿Creen que eran más culpables
que todos los demás habitantes de Jerusalén?
¡De ninguna manera!
Pero yo les digo, si ustedes no se arrepienten,
todos perecerán como ellos lo hicieron!”

Y él les dijo esta parábola:
“Había una vez una persona que tenía una higuera plantada en su huerto,
y cuando vino en busca de fruto en ella pero no encontró nada,
le dijo al viñador,
“Durante tres años he venido en busca de fruto en esta higuera,
pero no he encontrado ninguno.
Así que córtala.
¿Para qué va utilizar la tierra? “
Él le dijo en respuesta,
‘Señor, déjala por este año también,
y yo cultivare la tierra alrededor de ella y la fertilizare;
puede dar frutos en el futuro.
Si no usted puede cortarla. ‘”

_____________________________________________________________
Mientras leía hoy este pasaje de Lucas, comencé a pensar con qué frecuencia apuntamos con el dedo a otros “pecadores” con el fin de quitar el enfoque de nosotros mismos. Justificamos nuestro propio comportamiento pensando, “Por lo menos no soy tan malo como él / ella.”

Jesús se refirió a dos grupos distintos (Galileos y personas de Siloé) que murieron. Muchas personas sienten que murieron a causa de su gran pecado. Todos los señalaron con el dedo. Sin embargo, Jesús vuelve a dirigir su enfoque.  “¡Si ustedes no se arrepienten, todos perecerán como ellos lo hicieron!” En otras palabras, no se preocupen por los demás; preocúpense de ustedes mismos. Cambien su vida, arrepiéntanse y crean en el Evangelio. No esperen hasta que sea demasiado tarde.

Luego Jesús comparte la parábola de la higuera que no dio frutos por tres años. El dueño quería cortarla. Sin embargo, el viñador ruega al dueño por un año más para cultivar el árbol para que produzca fruto. Si después de ese año no da fruto, el dueño puede cortarlo.

Jesús no quiere que perezcamos en nuestro pecado. Él quiere que todos nosotros vivamos con Él por toda la eternidad. Él es paciente con nosotros y quiere cultivar la tierra de nuestra alma, para que dé frutos abundantes. Pero a veces somos tercos en nuestras formas. Permanecemos en nuestro pecado y creemos que tenemos una eternidad para cambiar nuestras vidas. No esperes hasta que sea demasiado tarde. Cambia tu vida, arrepiéntete y cree en el Evangelio.

¿Señalo los pecados de los demás para que yo no tenga que ver mis propios pecados?
¿Hay algo que tengo que confesar?
¿Dónde necesito permitirle al  Señor que trabaje en mi corazón?
¿Estoy dando abundantes frutos?

Dios los bendiga,

Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | October 24, 2014

Thought for Friday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Ephesians 4:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace;
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

=============================================

Today we have part of the letter that St. Paul wrote back to the community at Ephesus to encourage them in the faith.  Allow these words of St. Paul to be spoken to us today, “I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received….”

We have been called by a loving Father to a life of humility, gentleness, patience and love.  We were created in God’s image and likeness and are called to live in that dignity.  Do I live up to the dignity in which I was created?  Or do I live at a level that is well below what the Lord desires of me?

We are beloved sons and daughters of God.  We are called to be holy, to be set apart, to be Christ-like.  We are called to love sacrificially, to lay down our lives for others, to serve and not to be served.  We are called to live by the power of the Holy Spirit and seek the will of God above our own will.

Am I living up to the call of the Lord in my life?

How would I respond to St. Paul’s urging in today’s reading?

What do I need to change in my life today?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | October 22, 2014

Thought for Thursday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Ephesians 3:14-21

Brothers and sisters:
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine,
by the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus
to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

———————————————————————-

Today we have a beautiful prayer from St. Paul to God the Father.  He is praying not only for the Ephesians, but for you and me.  He says he is kneeling before the Father, asking Him to bless us and strengthen us through the Holy Spirit.

He asks that we be “rooted and grounded in love”, which means that we seek the best for one another.  None of us are seeking our own interests, but we seek the common good.

Ultimately St. Paul wants us to comprehend the “breadth and length and height and depth” of God’s love for us.  Have you allowed this to sink into your heart?  Jesus, the Son of God, willingly gave His life, His last drop of blood, on the cross for me and you.  That is amazing love.  When we allow this reality to fill our hearts, it should fill us with “all the fullness of God”.

This is the foundation of the spiritual life – to know in the depth of our hearts that God loves us.  This is not a general love for humanity, but it is a particular love for you, for me, by name.  Once we have received this love in our hearts and allow it to grow, it overflows in our families, in our work, and in all of our relationships.

Lord, open our minds and hearts to understand the immensity of your love for us.  Help us to open our hearts just a little more each day to this reality and then flood us with your grace.  Fill us so much so that your love overflows in every interaction I have today with others.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

Here is the Spanish translation:

EFESIOS 3:14-21
Hermanos y hermanas:
Me arrodillo ante el Padre,
de quien toma nombre toda familia en el cielo y en la tierra,
para que les conceda de acuerdo con las riquezas de su gloria
para ser fortalecidos con poder a través de su Espíritu en el ser interior,
y que Cristo habite en sus corazones por medio de la fe;
para que, arraigados y cimentados en el amor,
puedan tener la fuerza de comprender con todos los santos
cuál es la anchura y la longitud y la altura y la profundidad,
y conocer el amor de Cristo que supera todo conocimiento,
para que estén llenos de toda la plenitud de Dios.

Y a aquel que es capaz de lograr mucho más de lo que pedimos o imaginamos,
según el poder que actúa en nosotros,
a él sea la gloria en la Iglesia y en Cristo Jesús
por todas las generaciones, por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.

_________________________________________________________________
Hoy tenemos una hermosa oración de San Pablo a Dios Padre. Él está orando no sólo por los Efesios, pero para ti y para mí. Él dice que está de rodillas ante el Padre, pidiéndole que nos bendiga y nos fortalezca a través del Espíritu Santo.

Le pide que seamos “arraigados y cimentados en el amor”, lo que significa que busquemos lo mejor el uno por el otro. Ninguno de nosotros busca nuestros propios intereses, sino que buscamos el bien común.

Por último San Pablo quiere que comprendamos “la anchura, la longitud, la altura y la profundidad” del amor de Dios por nosotros. ¿Has permitido que esto se hunda en tu corazón? Jesús, el Hijo de Dios, voluntariamente dio Su vida, Su última gota de sangre, en la cruz por mí y por ti. Eso es amor increíble. Cuando permitimos que esta realidad llene nuestros corazones, debe llenarnos con “toda la plenitud de Dios”.

Este es el fundamento de la vida espiritual – saber en lo profundo de nuestros corazones que Dios nos ama. Este no es un amor general para la humanidad, pero es un amor particular para ti, para mí, por nombre. Una vez que hemos recibido este amor en nuestros corazones y le permitimos que crezca, se desborda en nuestras familias, en nuestro trabajo, y en todas nuestras relaciones.

Señor, abre nuestras mentes y corazones para entender la inmensidad de tu amor por nosotros. Ayúdanos a abrir nuestros corazones un poco más cada día a esta realidad y luego inúndanos con tu gracia. Llénanos tanto de modo que tu amor se desborde en cada interacción que tenga hoy día con los demás.

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke

Luke 12:39-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be sure of this:
if the master of the house had known the hour
when the thief was coming,
he would not have let his house be broken into.
You also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Then Peter said,
“Lord, is this parable meant for us or for everyone?”
And the Lord replied,
“Who, then, is the faithful and prudent steward
whom the master will put in charge of his servants
to distribute the food allowance at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master on arrival finds doing so.
Truly, I say to you, he will put him
in charge of all his property.
But if that servant says to himself,
‘My master is delayed in coming,’
and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants,
to eat and drink and get drunk,
then that servant’s master will come
on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour
and will punish the servant severely
and assign him a place with the unfaithful.
That servant who knew his master’s will
but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will
shall be beaten severely;
and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will
but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating
shall be beaten only lightly.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

____________________________________________________________

This parable for Wednesday has much the same theme as Tuesday – “be prepared”.  But I would like to look at a little closer at the last sentence:

“Much will be required of the person entrusted with much,
and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Each of us has been blessed with special gifts and talents?  Take time each day to give thanks to God for these gifts.  They are unique to each one of us.  Along with these gifts and talents comes responsibility.  We are called to use them to build up the Kingdom of God by loving, serving, helping, preaching, teaching, supporting, etc.  If we don’t use these gifts and talents, Jesus says that they will be taken away from us and given to someone who will use them for the right purposes.

My friends, all that we have comes from God.  The question is: Are we good stewards of these gifts?  We can’t take any of it with us after we die.  We shouldn’t store up treasure on earth just for safe keeping.  We do have to think about our future, but if it keeps us from helping others and living in true freedom, then we need to look at our motivation.  All that we are given is meant for the good of all.  No gift is meant for me alone.  That is why God has gifted us all in different ways.  When we come together as the Body of Christ, using the special gifts that God has given us, it is a beautiful thing.  This is how God’s will is realized on earth.

I love to see people like St. Pope John Paul II, whose feast day we celebrate today, who was a gifted athlete, an actor and a brilliant student – he used all of these gifts to bring people closer to Jesus Christ.  He could have used his talents for selfish purposes, but he gave it all to God.  The twelve apostles were men with very different gifts and talents.   God used this eclectic collection of men to spread the Good News around the world.

You may say, “I don’t have any incredible gifts like John Paul II or the apostles”.  Few people have extraordinary gifts.  But each one of us has special unique gifts that the Lord has given only to us.  You don’t have to do great things, “but we can do small things with great love” (Mother Theresa). 

How am I using my natural talents and gifts for the glory of God?  If we try to compare ourselves with others we will always come up short.  There is always someone better than us in our individual talents.  However, we are unique in the collection of gifts that God has given each one of us.

We all know people who are living like those described in this Gospel passage.  They sense that God doesn’t exist or they have a long time before they will meet Him face to face.  They live it up, getting drunk, partying, living the “high life”, all the while neglecting the relationship that brings us true joy.  We all want to be happy.  We are all called to be holy.  Ironically, holiness leads us to happiness.  And what is holiness?  It is becoming more like Jesus Christ, desiring to do the will of God in all that we do.

When we hoard or bury our gifts, they are taken away and given to others.  This could be financial gifts, spiritual gifts, talents, etc.  One way to keep our lamp lit is to allow the God-given talents that we have to shine forth for the glory of God!  How am I using them to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth?

peace,

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

Lucas 12:39-48
Jesús dijo a sus discípulos:
“Estén seguros de esto:
si el señor de la casa supiera a qué hora
el ladrón habría de venir,
él no dejaría que entraran en su casa.
También ustedes deben estar preparados,
porque a la hora que no lo esperen, el Hijo del Hombre vendrá “.

Luego Pedro dijo:
“Señor, ¿es esta parábola para nosotros o para todos?”
Y el Señor respondió,
“¿Quién, entonces, es el administrador fiel y prudente
a quien el señor pondrá a cargo de sus siervos
para distribuir la comida a su debido tiempo?
Bienaventurado es ese siervo a quien su señor, al llegar lo encuentre haciendo así.
En verdad les digo que lo pondrá
a cargo de todos sus bienes.
Pero si aquel siervo se dice a si mismo
‘Mi señor tarda en venir;
y comienza a golpear a los criados y a las criadas,
a comer y beber y embriagarse,
entonces el señor de aquel siervo vendrá
en un día inesperado y en una hora desconocida
y castigará severamente al siervo
y le asignará un lugar con los infieles.
Ese siervo que conocía la voluntad de su amo
pero no hiso los preparativos ni actuó conforme a su voluntad
será azotado severamente;
y el siervo que era ignorante de la voluntad de su amo
pero actuó de una manera digna de una brutal paliza
será azotado sólo ligeramente.
Mucho será requerido de la persona encargada de mucho,
y aún más se le exigirá a la persona encargada de más”.

___________________________________________________________
Esta parábola para el Miércoles tiene casi el mismo tema como la del Martes – “estén preparados”. Pero me gustaría ver un poco más de cerca la última frase:

“Mucho será requerido de la persona encargada de mucho,
y aún más se le exigirá a la persona encargada de más”.

Cada uno de nosotros ha sido bendecido con dones y talentos especiales. Toma tiempo cada día para dar gracias a Dios por estos dones. Son únicos para cada uno de nosotros. Junto con estos dones y talentos viene la responsabilidad. Estamos llamados a utilizarlos para construir el Reino de Dios, amando, sirviendo, ayudando, predicando, enseñando, apoyando, etc. Si no usamos estos dones y talentos, Jesús dice que se nos van a quitar y se les darán a alguien que los utilizara para los propósitos correctos.

Mis amigos, todo lo que tenemos viene de Dios. La pregunta es: ¿Somos buenos administradores de estos dones? No podemos llevarnos nada de eso con nosotros después de morir. No debemos acumular tesoros en la tierra sólo para custodia. Sí, tenemos que pensar en nuestro futuro, pero si nos impide ayudar a los demás y vivir en la verdadera libertad, entonces tenemos que ver en nuestra motivación. Todo lo que se nos da es para el bien de todos. Ningún don es para mí solo. Por eso Dios nos ha dotado de diferentes maneras. Cuando nos reunimos como el Cuerpo de Cristo, usando los dones especiales que Dios nos ha dado, es una cosa hermosa. Así es como la voluntad de Dios se realiza  en la tierra.

Me encanta ver a gente como El Santo Papa Juan Pablo II, cuya fiesta celebramos hoy día, quien fue un atleta dotado, un actor y un estudiante brillante – él utilizó todos estos dones para acercar a las personas a Jesucristo. Él pudo haber utilizado sus talentos para propósitos egoístas, pero se lo dio todo a Dios. Los doce apóstoles eran hombres con dones y talentos muy diferentes. Dios usó esta colección ecléctica de hombres para esparcir la Buena Nueva alrededor del mundo.

Puedes decir, “Yo no tengo ningún don increíble como Juan Pablo II o los apóstoles”. Pocas personas tienen dones extraordinarios. Pero cada uno de nosotros tiene dones únicos y especiales que el Señor nos ha dado sólo a nosotros. No tienes que hacer grandes cosas, “pero podemos hacer cosas pequeñas con gran amor” (Madre Teresa).

¿Cómo estoy usando mis talentos y dones naturales para la gloria de Dios? Si tratamos de compararnos con los demás siempre nos quedaremos cortos. Siempre hay alguien mejor que nosotros en nuestros talentos individuales. Sin embargo, somos únicos en la colección de dones que Dios ha dado a cada uno de nosotros.

Todos conocemos a personas que viven como los que están descritos en este pasaje del Evangelio. Ellos sienten que Dios no existe o que tienen un largo tiempo antes de que se reúnan con Él cara a cara. Viven la vida, embriagándose, de fiesta, viviendo la “gran vida”, a la vez descuidando la relación que nos trae la verdadera alegría. Todos queremos ser felices. Todos estamos llamados a ser santos. Irónicamente, la santidad nos lleva a la felicidad. ¿Y qué es la santidad? Convirtiéndose más como Jesucristo, deseando hacer la voluntad de Dios en todo lo que hacemos.

Cuando acumulamos o enterramos nuestros dones, son quitados y dados a otros. Estos pueden ser dones financieros, dones espirituales, talentos, etc. ¡Una manera de mantener nuestra lámpara encendida es permitir que los talentos que tenemos dados por Dios brillen para la gloria de Dios! ¿Cómo los estoy utilizando para construir el Reino de Dios aquí en la tierra?

Paz,
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | October 20, 2014

Thought for Tuesday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Luke 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps
and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding,
ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.
Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.
Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself,
have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch
and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”

_____________________________________________________

Jesus tells us “gird your loins and light your lamps”.  Be ready for the return of our master.  This is a common reading that we use for funerals.  Are we ready to meet the Lord if He were to come for us today?

I have celebrated many funerals during my twelve years as a priest.  Some people were more than ready for the Lord to take them, while others died suddenly and only God knows the state of their soul at that moment.  But what I have witnessed is that the Lord can come like a “thief in the night”, just as He warns us in the Scriptures.

We always think that sudden death happens to “other people”; it will not happen to me.   But we do not know the hour or the day.  I friend of mine just lost a relative in a car accident.  He was 32 years old and leaves behind his wife, young child and another child in the womb.  We never know when the Lord will call us home.

The key is to be ready for the Master every day of our lives.  Let us not put off for tomorrow what we can do today.  How can I prepare myself today for eternity? 

  • Spend some time in prayer each day deepening your relationship with Christ.
  • Study your faith. Learn the Truth (Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”)
  • Share your faith with others through words and actions. Love others by seeking the good for them.

Death is not something to fear if our lamps are lit.  In fact, we await the return of our Savior with anticipation and joy.  Meanwhile, we are called to share this joy with others, the Good News of Jesus Christ.  This is our mission – to share the love of God with one another.

Is your lamp lit?  Are you ready?  Live today as if it were your last on earth.  What would you do?  Who would you call?  Who would you tell, “I love you?”

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

San Lucas 12:35-38

Jesús dijo a sus discípulos:
“Estén preparados, ceñidos y con las lámparas encendidas.
Sean como los hombres que esperan el regreso de su señor, que fue a una boda, para abrirle apenas llegue y llame a la puerta.
¡Bienaventurados son aquellos siervos a quienes el señor encuentra velando a su llegada! Les aseguro que él mismo ceñirá su túnica, los hará sentar a la mesa y procederá a servirles.
Y en caso de llegar en la segunda o tercera vigilia
Y los encuentre preparados de esta manera,

Bienaventurados son aquellos siervos.”

_____________________________________________________________

Jesús nos dice “Estén preparados, ceñidos y con las lámparas encendidas”. Estén preparados para el regreso de nuestro señor. Esta es una lectura común que usamos para los funerales. ¿Estamos listos para recibir al Señor si Él viniera por nosotros hoy?

He celebrado muchos funerales durante mis doce años como sacerdote. Algunas personas estaban más que listas para que el Señor se las llevara, mientras que otras murieron repentinamente y sólo Dios sabe el estado de su alma en ese momento. Pero lo que he presenciado es que el Señor puede venir como un “ladrón en la noche”, así como nos advierte en las Escrituras.

Siempre pensamos que la muerte repentina le ocurre a “otras personas”; no me pasara a mí. Pero no sabemos la hora ni el día. Un amigo mío acaba de perder a un familiar en un accidente de coche. El tenía 32 años de edad y deja atrás a su esposa, a un niño y a otro niño en el vientre. Nunca sabemos cuándo el Señor nos llamara a casa. 

La clave es estar listos para el Señor cada día de nuestras vidas. No dejemos para mañana lo que podemos hacer hoy. ¿Cómo puedo prepararme hoy por la eternidad?

1) Pasa algún tiempo en oración cada día profundizando tu relación con Cristo.

2) Estudia tu fe. Conoce la verdad (Jesús dice, “Yo soy el Camino, la Verdad y la Vida.”)

3) Comparte tu fe con los demás a través de palabras y acciones. Ama a los demás, buscando el bien para ellos.

La muerte no es algo de temer si nuestras lámparas están encendidas. De hecho, esperamos el regreso de nuestro Salvador con anticipación y alegría. Mientras tanto, estamos llamados a compartir esta alegría con los demás, la Buena Nueva de Jesucristo. Esta es nuestra misión – compartir el amor de Dios los unos con los otros.

¿Está encendida tu lámpara?  ¿Estás listo?  Vive hoy como si fuera tu último día en la tierra.  ¿Qué harías?  ¿A quién llamarías?  ¿A quién le dirías, “Te amo?”

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

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